Kim Searfoss is running as a Republican for the position of associate circuit judge. Searfoss has previously campaigned for this position and decided to run again.

Kim Searfoss is running as a Republican for the position of associate circuit judge. Searfoss has previously campaigned for this position and decided to run again.

What made you decide to run this election?

I'd like to see some changes in the court, and the only way to do that is from the inside.

What are some of the things that you would try to change, if elected?

Probably things that most people don't really care about, like bonds. I would do away with most bonds and create summances for people to come to court, instead of having them bond out of jail and come to court. I'd make the bonds a little fairer. If you look at somebody who does something today, let's say burglary, they may have a $50,000 bond and somebody who gets arrested two days later with the same type of charge might have a $7,000 bond. I'd like to make sure that they're evenly distributed.

What experience do you have that qualifies you the most for this job?

I've been an attorney for almost 20 years. I've done a lot of criminal law. I started out as a public defender in Pettis County.

If you were elected, how would you improve everyday life for the average citizen of Cooper County?

One of the things that I think is really lacking in our court system is how we treat mental health issues. Right now, we deal with mental health, in Missouri and in Cooper County, with the criminal justice system. If the state or private industry isn't going to come up with mental health services or facilities, then I think the court needs to take a better hand in how those cases are dealt with.

What would you want that to look like?

I like specialty courts. I like the mental health courts, veterans courts. We used to have teen court. We still have drug court, a specialty court that deals with drug and alcohol abuse, usually (for) first-time offenders.

What are some of the biggest points of your platform?

I think that there ought to be equal access. I think everyone ought to have a say, whether you're a criminal defendant or you're a plaintiff in a civil case. You ought to feel like you've had adequate access to the court and that you've had your say, and at the end of the day, that it's been fairly resolved. That's what I'd like to make sure happens.

What makes you the best person for the job?

Well, I've got a wealth of experience outside the court. I came to the law late in life. I'm a metallurgical engineer and got my JD right at MU. I was 40 years old when that happened. It was always something that was interesting to me, and it was something that, because of my background, it was made available to me and I took advantage of that.

What would you do to increase transparency in the court process?

We have CaseNet (an online court records management system) now, and people can actually track cases with CaseNet, and files are usually public. We have a new rule from the Supreme Court concerning reporters and the ability to use things like Twitter feeds right from the courthouse. Things like that make the court more accessible.

What else should voters know about you as a person?

I work hard. I'll be available every day. I'm probably the oldest Boy Scout in Cooper County. I'm assistance scout master, and I've been doing that for a long long time. I'm active in outside activities. I used to coach softball when my daughters were younger. I'm a veteran as well. I was a naval officer and the chief engineer on the ship. I've been married to the same woman, a Boonville High School teacher, for 40 years.

Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

I have a well-rounded background. I'm not one of those people who went to college and then went into law school right away. I think being a lawyer is probably my fourth or fifth career. I've got a varied background, and I bring that to the court. I think it's important to have that diversity. I'm not always myopic and just looking at the law as this black and white thing — there's a lot of grey areas.